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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Harmony Happenings

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harmony United Methodist Church held services at the 4-H Fairgrounds last Sunday. Cheryl Brinson said they had a very nice crowd. Services will return to the church on Vine Street this Sunday. Everyone is welcome.

Things are slowly getting back to normal at my house. I tried using the riding mower for the first time since my leg surgery. My ouchie still gives me a good excuse not to run the weed eater or the push mower. My derriere and my gas petal foot are fine so no more excuses for not using the rider. Thanks to Brother Mikey and his wife Karen and to good neighbor Patty Escott for mowing when I couldn't.

My new rider has spent most of its life parked in the storage shed. The battery went dead the first day but Clarkie took care of that. Then the tire started going flat. Both brothers worked on it at different times, and could find nothing wrong, but still it would be flat the next time I tried to use it.

Clarkie said the new tires being made just aren't that good. Pine needles or roses will flatten them. Most people have one or the other in their yard. The new mower had a torn in its paw.

My old Craftsman, that I now call the eggbeater, has the old style lawn mower tires and never has a problem with my yard. It is so old that the deck is uneven and it just beats the grass but it still runs. And the tires stay inflated. When it runs, the new mower mows nicely.

I found out not to take the easy payment plan when buying a new lawn tractor. The 12-month, same as cash, no interest, sounds good. I have used similar plans on other major purchases and had no problem. I try to pay then off at least a month early just to make sure there are no charges. I read the agreement. In fact, I have been told I am one of the rare people who actually do read that stuff.

Neither Clark's nor I understood there was a $100 charge to use that company. They now say it was a special introductory plan. They set it up like a charge card. I could understand if I had a bad credit rating but I don't. Who would sign up for something that charges $100 just to use the card? I didn't know about the charge until the monthly statement arrived. Hidden charges should be illegal.

Robert at Clark's and I have both tried calling and I have written to the company to try to get it changed but with no success. I have even offered to just go ahead and purchase the lawn tractor outright but the company says the minute I signed the agreement, I owed them $100 even if I now pay in full. Buyers beware.

The card company won't give Clark info to change it because of privacy laws (supposedly to protect me) and tell me that Clark is the only one who can change the agreement to start over.

Clark is still working on trying to get the mess straightened out. He apologized for signing up the wrong plan. His secretary was on maternity leave. Honest mistake.

Neither of us should have to pay the $100 (the charge company suggested Clark's pay the fee). I would understand if I went beyond the 12 months and did not finish the payments. I even understand that they would charge the full amount of interest for the 12-months rather than just the remaining balance. That was all explained. It is a rip-off but it was explained. I just bought it and didn't do any of those things.

These companies are gambling on folks not being able to make all the payments and then they can sock them with a huge amount of interest. That is bad enough without assessing a $100 upfront fee for something just purchased. Thanks, Robert, and good luck in trying to fix the problem.

Soapbox: Isn't it amazing how much time we all have to spend trying to get problems like this solved. Anyone over 50 or anyone with kids probably spends countless hours trying to get doctor bills straightened out if you are lucky enough to have insurance. The doctor's office has to try to understand dozens of different insurance plans. This plan won't pay if it says routine. That plan pays for preventive but only to this amount. It is purposely complicated.

A friend said that she changed locations within a company. She is still doing the same job but at another hospital under the same management. She keeps her seniority, vacation, etc. but works a few streets over from where she was in Indianapolis.

However, the insurance says she has a new job and has pre-existing conditions. Her two medical problems discovered this past year are not covered and her co-pays have also been raised. Even medical professionals can't get good medical coverage. There is always some legal jargon to make cheating the person sound right. This is rotten.

If the computer makes a mistake on any bill whether it is utilities to charge cards, clear your calendar. It will take half a lifetime to get it straightened out. We spend so much of our time with mistakes and poor workmanship on products that it can take away from the quality of life.

I am a fighter. If they do me wrong, I complain. It usually does no good but I have the satisfaction of arguing with them. Have you tried calling to make a complaint? There is usually an underpaid college student answering the phone and reading a pre-printed script. Sometimes they don't speak English. The company does not want to solve a problem if they put a person who cannot understand the customer on the customer service line.

Not all products are bad. The tiller I bought from Clarkie five years ago is still working fine. My Maytag washer is awful but the freezer and stove I bought at Schuee's is fine. I am not complaining about the local dealers. I am complaining about the big business people who are out to make a killing rather than offering good products and services at reasonable prices.

When they make a mistake on a program or product, they make excuses rather than taking care of the problem. Some even advertise how good their family oriented businesses are at meeting our needs. If they really did those things, they wouldn't need to advertise it. We'd already know it.

Some folks just suck it up and pay out whatever just to avoid the hassles. They should not have to do that.

What has happened to honesty and pride in workmanship and providing competent services for customers? Why do I have to have bad tires on my new mower? Why does a good nurse loose benefits because she moves across town to another hospital within the same administration? Why do we accept that "they just don't make things like they used to."

The best stuff in the world used to be made in America. Companies worldwide copied us. Now, no one wants our stuff. Companies get rid of their experienced people so they can hire cheaper, inexperienced labor. No one accepts blame when he/she makes a mistake. It is just pass it on -- get lost in the system.

Most of our stuff is made somewhere else. Our new cars are sitting on lots. I mentioned in a clothing store that everything looked really pretty but there was almost nothing there I would want to wear. Ladies of all sizes complain that they know what they want but just can't find it or it is made of cheap material. Why? Most admit they buy something out of desperation because they need clothes for work or some occasion. Why do we go ahead to buy something we know isn't that good?

Does anyone remember that old movie where the guy started screaming out the window, "I'm mad and I'm not gonna take it anymore". Then other people joined him with being fed up with how things were going. They demanded changes.

Everyone just assumes that the problems are so huge in the U.S. that we just have to accept them. We need some of that old pioneer spirit coupled with the ingenuity that built rockets and I-Pods. That American pride and determination may have taken a back seat but I think it can be revived.

Is it better to spend most days complaining about being cheated or doing something to make a change? Small changes can create ripples.

Walk out of the store, tie up their college students with complaints, call the insurance company for the sixth time that week. They say money talks. It certainly has in the auto industry. We didn't buy those cars and they are still sitting. It is tough on the poor dealer but now the industry has to ask what do people really want? One thing we want is for big executives to stop getting big rewards they don't deserve. Put some money into the product and the workers that make it. When you mess up, make it right. Don't just make noise about it. We expect you to make a fair profit but don't rip us off.

Happy upcoming Birthdays to Nikki Osborne (25th), Bell Killion (28th), and Clyde Bryan (30th).

Harmony United Methodist Calendar

July 26 -- Worship Service 9 a.m., Sunday School 10:45 a.m.

July 27 -- Harmony United Methodist Women 7 p.m.

July 29 -- Clay County Quilters 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Bible Study 9 a.m.